New Asian Currents [TURKEY]

Vanished with Water

Suyla Yiten
- TURKEY / 2000 / Turkish / Color / Video / 23 min

Directors: Dogan Ümit Karaca, Namik Ugur, Özgür E. Arik, Özgür Polat, Onur Erdem, Özgür Cam
Production, Source: Ankara University Faculty of Communications
Cemal Gursel Cad. 06590 Cebeci, Ankara TURKEY
Phone: 90-312-319-7714 Fax: 90-312-362-2717
E-mail: ozkam@media.ankara.edu.tr

Themes varied among the four student films Ankara University sent us for preselection at YIDFF 2001. “Kurdish story-tellers, traditionally important in the communities, face competition from modern print and image culture”; “Maronites on Cyprus Island who live on both sides of the Greek-Turkish border are undergoing generation change”; “An Australian woman and her children move to an old town in South-east Turkey to teach English”; “Residents of a riverside town are forcibly evicted for the construction of a dam.” The choices of location vary and give us a look at diverse cultures within Turkey, and there seems to be an emphasis on shifting times and dying traditions. The films are characterized by abundant footage, careful research, and development without use of voice-over narration, and it’s a pity we can only present one of them.

[Director’s Statement] Our documentary is about Halfeti, an historical town in south-east of Turkey that will soon be under water because of the Birecik Dam. People from Halfeti are leaving their houses, lifes, histories and memories under water and moving to the new Halfeti, set back from the Euphrates river, unlike the old town. This sad story is being told us by elderly people of Halfeti.

Vanished with Water is a student documentary video. Our first aim in this project was to use “visual language” and “visual codes,” not just using “talking heads.” There was a balance between human and nature in the town of Halfeti, but the dam demolished this. This situation can be seen clearly in the faces and behaviors of people and also in their verses. After the dam, people of Halfeti only stand still like ants that wait to die on a stone surrounded by water.


Dogan Ümit Karaca
Namik Ugur
Özgür E. Arik
Özgür Polat
Onur Erdem
Özgür Cam

All six co-directors studied at the Ankara University Communications Faculty, where they collaborated on several short video documentary projects including Letter from Halfeti, Ribat, and God Bless Our Home. Karaca was born in 1977 in Rize, Turkey. He began his studies in the university’s Radio TV and Cinema Branch in 1995. After graduating in June 2000, he now works in the Turkish film and advertisement industry as a freelance assistant director. Ugur was born in 1976, in Diyarbarkir, Turkey. Arik was born in 1976, in Eskişehir, Turkey. Erdem was born in 1979, in Trabzon, Turkey. The three are currently still students in the Radio TV and Cinema Branch and continue to study documentary and short film production. Polat was born in 1979, in Ankara, Turkey. Cam was born in 1977, in Malatya, Turkey. They are still students in the university’s Journalism Branch and continue to make documentaries and short films.

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